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God Only Knows

Todd Snider's restless soul belies a heart of gold.

Snider's satirical targets are familiar, but they're never merely obvious, and they never really judge. In "Happy New Year," the final song on The Devil You Know, he declares that "we can't kill what we don't understand" — but then turns on the TV and sees that, yeah, well, we can and do. That's insight for Snider: realizing that you'll never be smart enough to stop being human.

"My wife says I'm a sucker for people like Mike Tyson, Barry Bonds, Tonya Harding, Courtney Love, Yoko Ono, Liam Gallagher, Ryan Adams," he says. "I wouldn't even call them underdogs. You know who I like right now? Britney Spears. If you watch TV, we all know we're smarter than her. If we're standing at the doughnut shop, we can all agree that we're smarter than Britney! It angers me that people think they are smarter than her, smarter than Mike Tyson. That's the part of my soul that will probably kill my career — when people figure out I've been trying to sing Charles Manson into Heaven since the beginning. I'm being sincere about that.

"But I don't want to be misunderstood," he adds. "If there is a God or even not a God, I don't want to lie to that entity — whatever it is. That idea is consuming to me. I want there to be a God, I want that Heaven thing set up where I could see my dad. I would trade everything for that."

Todd Snider: Are you there, God? It's me, Todd.
Senore McGuire
Todd Snider: Are you there, God? It's me, Todd.

8 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, December 30 and 31. Mississippi Nights, 914 North First Street. $18 Saturday, $25 Sunday or $40 flat for tickets to both nights. 314-421-3853.

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